NEW YORK » Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason today in the first penalty of baseball’s investigation of players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
Braun accepted the penalty.
"I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions," he said in a statement.
Major League Baseball attempted to suspend Braun for a positive drug test following the 2011 season, but an arbitrator overturned the penalty because the Milwaukee star’s urine sample was not handled as specified by baseball’s drug agreement.
Braun, injured Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen players were targeted by MLB following a report by Miami New Times in January that they had been connected with Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced the penalty today, citing Braun for multiple unspecified "violations" of baseball’s drug program and labor contract. Braun will miss the Milwaukee Brewers’ final 65 games without pay, costing him about $3 million of his $8.5 million salary.
Under the agreement reached by MLB and the players’ association the specifics of Braun’s admission won’t be made public.
"We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions," said Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for economics and league affairs. "We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field."
Union head Michael Weiner said in a statement: "I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step. It vindicates the rights of all players under the joint drug program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field."
Braun’s acceptance of a suspension marks a 180-degree turnaround from his defiant spring training news conference in Phoenix last year, after his 50-game ban was overturned.
"We won," he said then, "because the truth is on my side. The truth is always relevant, and at the end of the day, the truth prevailed."